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Universities SA 'confident’ institutions ready to complete academic year

They've been given until February to complete the year with the 2021 calendar set to start between March and April.

A lecture theatre. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Universities South Africa (USAf) said it was confident South Africa’s institutions will be ready to complete the academic year.

They have been given until February to complete the year with the 2021 calendar set to start between March and April.

On Wednesday, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande outlined the readiness of universities and colleges under level 2 lockdown regulations.

In a bid to fast track teaching, up to 66% of students would now be allowed to return to campuses.

However, the organisation's Ahmed Bawa said there were allegations of interference with procurement processes and delays when it comes to remote-learning material.

“We are of course deeply concerned that there is still a significant number of universities that have not been able to offer sort of ongoing emergency teaching but all the universities have a plan in place to complete the academic year and try to ensure that all students have an opportunity.”

USAf said institutions must consider extending applications for admission to study following the disruption to the 2020 academic year.

With the June exams scrapped and several interruptions to the academic programme affecting both grade 11 and matric pupils, there is some confusion on the plan for next year.

Bawa explained: “Universities will have to take into account that students will only receive their final NSC results on 23 February 2021. So, it likely that the selection process will be extended quite significantly. There weren’t June exams this year, and that as a data point for universities did not exist for them this year.”

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